Goofy Is a Dog, Not a Cow, and Here’s Why

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What type of animal is Goofy? A full analysis

The Goofy character was born as Dippy Dawg. Dippy was an older version of the character with a white beard but many of the famous Goofy tics, like the guffawing laugh. Goofy’s origins date back to 1932 and the “Mickey’s Revue” short. Dippy Dawg – the proto Goofy – is a memorably annoying cartoon character in the crowd. But somehow, the character proved quite popular. And so, later, he returned as a younger version of himself with a name change in the short “Whoopee Party.”

Goofy Character Disney World Orlando
Goofy greets guests at EPCOT in Orlando (photo by James Overholt/

Goofy’s first official appearance (Status: Dog)

“Whoopee Party” is memorable not just for Goofy’s first official appearance, but also because his tail is seen. It is a canine’s tail. This will be important later. Goofy soon joined Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to form a popular comedy trio. By the late 30s and 40s, Goofy was popular enough to star on his own. But in the late 40s and 50s, they experimented with Goofy.

Goofy’s as George G. Geef (Status: Unclear)

Goofy’s ears and snout shrunk, and he started losing the Southern drawl from his voice. They even changed his name for a time, or maybe more accurately, cast him as a character named George G. Geef, implying Goofy was a nickname. Goofy’s popularity waned somewhat though he always remained a close friend of Mickey Mouse and one of the key members of Mickey’s inner circle.

Popularity returned, however, in the 80s with “The Goof Troop” TV show and “The Goofy Movie” which introduced Goofy’s son, Max, making him the first of the main Disney characters to procreate. By the time the “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” started connecting with youngsters around the world, the Disney character Goofy was more than 70 years old and as popular as ever.

Pluto at EPCOT
If Goofy and Pluto are both dogs – then why can’t Pluto speak? (photo by James Overholt/

Comparing Goofy to Pluto (Status: Cow)

Personally, I always fell into the Goofy is a dog category. My feeling was Goofy was an anthropomorphic dog, or a dog with human features, human traits and human characteristics. However, there are a few stumbling blocks to this idea.

First, the Mickey Mouse gang has a dog; Mickey’s loyal pet Pluto. How can Pluto be a fairly regular pet dog, walking on all fours, mostly unable to speak and relying on Mickey to feed and house him while Goofy – a supposed member of the same species – is walking around wearing a turtle neck and hat and pants and a vest.

If we have learned anything from the obsessive fandom of the internet age is that we expect the in-world dynamics of a fictional universe to be consistent. How did Goofy get on a different evolutionary track than Pluto? It’s a question for the ages.

Goofy dates a Clarabelle Cow (Status: Cow?)

Secondly, a Disney main character’s love interest usually does not cross species. Mickey has Minnie Mouse, Donald has Daisy Duck and Pluto is smitten with other pet-style dogs. Goofy’s chief love interest is Clarabelle Cow, who – if we ignore the inherent difficulties in a cow dating a dog – is a good fit for the Goof. She’d certainly swipe right. So, if ducks date ducks and mice date mice, shouldn’t it stand to reason that cows date cows and Goofy is, therefore, a cow?

goofy side by side with a cow
Cow theory proponents say that Goofy can’t be a dog, because Pluto is a dog, and Goofy’s love interest is a cow (cow photo by Clara Bastian/

Arguments that Goofy could be a cow

Some would have you believe Goofy is a cow. He can’t be the same species as Pluto and his love interest is a cow. The website ReelRundown – in a satirical post – fueled the fire as many people missed the satire. Claiming that not only is Goofy a cow, he’s clearly a certain kind of cow. Specifically, the site speculates that Goofy is an Aberdeen Angus cow, a breed of Scottish cow that conveniently doesn’t have horns. They also make quite a few arguments about his physical appearance that are mostly specious – the point about Goofy having the flat teeth of a herbivore is solid.

goofy beside a dog
Dog theory proponents argue that Goofy was born a “Dawg” and more closely physically resembles a canine (dog photo by smrm1977/

Arguments that Goofy is probably a dog

But I think, it’s pretty clear that Goofy was born as Dawg. His ears are dog-like as are his snout and nose. Compare the noses of Clarabelle Cow or her other paramour – Horace Horsecollar – to Goofy’s. Goofy’s snout and nose are like Pluto’s. The fact-checking website got into the game of identifying the species of our favorite gullible good Samaritan though, in my opinion, the Snopes arguments get a little flighty. Snopes tries to debunk the in-species dating rules within the Disney Universe but cites “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” as well as Miss Piggy and Kermit from the Muppets.

First of all, even though they are now a Disney property Muppet canon is a completely separate issue from classic Disney canon. Jim Henson’s creations have little bearing on Walt Disney’s from 50 or so years earlier. And really, the same applies to Jessica Rabbit and her rabbit husband Roger. Neither exists in the proper Mickey Mouse universe.

Conclusion: Goofy is a dog, right?

In the broadest sense, I think yes. But I think the evidence on hand points to another option. Goofy is a canine, in the dog family, but not exactly a dog like a wolf or a coyote. Why do I think this? First, his tail. Pluto’s tail is sleek and waggy. Goofy – whose tail is usually hidden within his pants – is bushy like a wolf or coyote or husky.

I think Goofy is pretty clearly not a wolf or husky. I think he’s a tall, lanky coyote with a bushy tail, a species that in the Disney universe shares a common ancestor with the dog but has evolved along a different course. Bill Farmer – who has voiced Goofy since 1987 – agrees … somewhat. In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment, he attempted to settle the debate. He stated emphatically that Goofy is not a dog. He said Goofy and his family are of their species, canis goofus, they exist in the canine family but are a different species from Pluto and his ilk.

RELATED VIDEO: Is Goofy a Cow or a Dog?

What do you think? Is Goofy a dog, a cow, or something else entirely? Let me know in the comments.

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John Gullion

John Gullion, Managing Editor at the Citizen Tribune, is a freelance contributor for LLC – the parent company of and

3 thoughts on “Goofy Is a Dog, Not a Cow, and Here’s Why”

  1. I’ve always thought Goofy is something akin to a bloodhound because of the ears and somewhat similar facial features. But since I was a child have been wondering the same things you bring up. Specifically, why one of Micky’s best friends is a dog and yet he has a pet dog? Can’t help but wonder if as Disney evolved, they were stuck with their storyline and just couldn’t change it so they decided to make things as obscure as they could…

  2. I absolutely agree! Goofy has always been misrepresented as a cow, but he is clearly a dog. The evidence is clear in his loyalty to Mickey Mouse and his ability to bark. It’s time to set the record straight!


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